If Not Now, When? Malign Intent by Robert Craven

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Malign Intent

By Robert Craven

To borrow Shane Horgan’s comment on the Ireland v NZ All-blacks quarter final match in the Rugby World Cup 23 (and with a nod to Primo Levi), If not now, when? Is the constant thought of an indie author.


Malign Intent is my tenth novel and the follow up to A Kind of Drowning, a second crime thriller featuring Garda Inspector P. J. Crowe. Malign Intent is out now on Amazon KDP. It has taken two years to write. The first draft was so bad I jettisoned three-quarters of the MS and focussed on three ‘inciting incidents’ in the plot to build up the novel from scratch. These three core elements resulted in two full rewrites and now at nine drafts later, I think I have a book good enough to release.

I have arrived at ‘Now…’

Without an agent or a publisher and their financial bag of tricks, the first thing I have to consider is ‘Getting the message out’ to an already overcrowded marketplace; worse now than two years ago with the advent of AI. So how to drop the pebble in the pond to create a ripple?

I always start at the basics:

The first step for me was to draft a synopsis with my contact details (email, phone and website) and create an email shot and title the subject field as A Press Release. I was careful with this one, avoiding ‘info@’ addresses and only to the people I know who had read my books before. After 17 years of writing, I do have a solid group of connections. I made sure the cover was in the body of the email pitch too, sounds obvious; but I learned from my fourth novel titled Hollow Point that on Amazon, that title alone generated over 100 different items on the platform. 

So we’re at the stage where the MS for Malign Intent is uploaded, the cover generated and the countdown timer is set. I’ll have up to 24hrs to upload the polished / revised version before the release date. Another step along the way to ‘NOW’.

Robert Craven

Advance Reader Copy (old fashioned term: Galley Proofs)

The next thing is ordering ARC’s – Amazon only allows 5 of these hard copy proofs, so I’ve ordered two and approached an independent reader / reviewer to look at one, while the other copy gets a forensic edit from cover to cover. I’ll have multi highlighters and the MS hard copy beside me and the laptop open. The remaining three, I’ll hold on for back up.

Next step:

A teaser chapter

I keep a blog on ABCTales.com and I added the mail shot text to my blog page and created a ‘teaser chapter’ (see link below)


Which was awarded a ‘Cherry’ by the editors.This generated a higher readership and resulted in a spurt of visits to my website. I’m pleased too that it got that award as the standard of writing on this platform is very, very good.

Social Media

Is at everyone’s personal discretion. I use META (because it is a GenX readership I pitch to), Instagram, LinkedIn and Mastadon. I deactivated my X/Twitter account as Musk brought a whole level of toxicity to the platform and it’s easy to get mired in the mindless noise. As for TikTok, the jury is still out on it, mainly because it’s not my age demographic and in the USA, most if not all, of the red states have banned it. (2023)


And it’s likely the US Congress is likely to block it outright. So that’s half my marketplace affected in one stroke (or vote).

As for my own experience, I can only tell you that a planned four-week blitz on X/Twitter for A KInd of Drowning, released in May 2021 (useful tip: I always tweeted at 5am – midnight stateside, early afternoon, Australia & NZ) resulted in three paperback sales. By week 4, retweets and comments were dead.

FB/META resulted in better – 10 paperback and 2 hardback sales. These then led to a spike in June / July of Kindle sales which petered out by the end of August 2021. LinkedIn, resulted in 5 paperback sales and I think as a marketing platform has its uses.

I have had sporadic sales since. I have all my books on the KOBO platform too and AKoD has done a little bit better.

There are numerous advertising options on Social Media. My own experiences are that unless you have very deep pockets you will get little or no return on an investment under 100 Euros.  Same for Google Ads.

But every author has different experiences, so that’s purely a private opinion.

If not now… when?

I am now at NOW and WHEN is January 2024.

Below is the mailshot text and I look forward to your reviews (good, bad of meh…) in 2024.

Thank you to Vanessa and Adrian for allowing me to post this on writing.ie.

(c) Robert Craven

About Malign Intent by Robert Craven:

Malign Intent

“Tag, bag and bury the bastard, Garda Inspector Crowe…”

Robert Craven’s Malign Intent, isa contemporary crime thriller set in Ireland with a slow burning neo-noir atmosphere:

Crowe has seen enough dead bodies in his time to suspect that Aonghus Hanafin wasn’t the hanging kind.

August bank holidays should be about relaxation, taking time out to see family and friends, but when former gonzo journalist, Aonghus Hanafin is found hanging along a desolate estuary, the nearest SIO to the incident, Garda Inspector Pius John Crowe, discovers a puzzling detail; the late Hanafin had MS.

As Crowe delves deeper into the case, he becomes convinced that Hanafin’s death leads to Cillcreann House, the nearby palatial home of the retired bon vivant Chief Justice Barry Gartland and his trophy wife, Rosemary. Gartland, slated to join the prestigious role at the EJC in Strasbourg could do without Crowe nosing around, creating a stir, and pressures the Minister of Justice and the senior ranks to close off the case as a suicide.

 Crowe discovers the Hanafin holiday home on land owned by the Garlands with evidence that results in him being stabbed and hospitalised. But is what Crowe discovers enough to convict and bring the Hanafin case to its rightful conclusion before Gartalnd takes up his influential seat on the European Justice Council?

Or will Crowe end his days alone, stabbed and bleeding out in an acre of greenhouse glass…

Malign Intent is the second book in the P.J. Crowe series by Robert Craven, following his break-through novel A Kind of Drowning in 2021. Set in present-day Ireland, the book explores the themes of power, corruption, and justice.

Order your copy online here.

About the author

Robert Craven is an award-winning author of thrilling fiction. His novel, “Eagles Hunt Wolves,” was the winner of the 2021 Firebird Book Award for best Action/Adventure. He was born on July 2nd, 1966 in Swinton, Manchester, and now resides in Rush, Co. Dublin with his wife and family.

Robert’s passion for writing began in 1992 when he submitted a short horror story, “The Chase,” to the speculative fiction magazine FTL, which was accepted and published. Since then, he has authored several books in various genres, including the Eva series (“Get Lenin,” “Zinnman,” “A Finger of Night,” “Hollow Point,” and “Eagles Hunt Wolves”), the Steampunk novel “The Mandarin Cipher,” and the crime thriller “A Kind of Drowning.”

In addition to his novels, Robert has also had short stories published in three anthologies and two articles published in The Oslo Times online newspaper. He is also a regular reviewer of CDs for the Irish Independent Review Ireland.

Visit Robert’s website at https://www.robert-cravenauthor.ie/ to learn more about his work and follow him on his writing journey.

Mastadon handle – https://tooting.ch/@RobertCraven

FB – https://www.facebook.com/robert.craven.56

Robert Craven is a member of the Irish Writers Union – https://irishwritersunion.org/

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